Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Naxos CD of Florence Price Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4 is #1 classical new release on Amazon

Naxos 8.559827 (2019)

John Jeter, Conductor of the Fort Smith Symphony in Arkansas, writes:

As of today:  #1 classical new release on Amazon.

Red Clay Dance Company: Choreography by Black Women in Festival March 14–16


CHOREOGRAPHERS SELECTED!
RED CLAY DANCE COMPANY CELEBRATES
CHOREOGRAPHY BY BLACK WOMEN

IN THIRD BIENNIAL LA FEMME DANCE FESTIVAL MARCH 14–16


Red Clay Dance Company (RCDC), which creates and performs a diverse repertoire of Afro-contemporary dance, announces the third edition of La Femme Dance Festival, celebrating choreographic work by women of Black/African Diaspora/African descent. Performances are March 15 and 16 at the new Green Line Performing Arts Center, 329 E. Garfield Blvd. in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood.
 
Open to women artists from around the world, La Femme is curated by RCDC (Chicago) Founder and Artistic Director Vershawn Sanders-Ward, Flyground (Philadelphia) Founder and Director Lela Aisha Jones and Catalyst Movmnt (Chicago) Founder and Curator Aaliyah Christina. The curators have selected five choreographers, whose work will be performed in this year's festival, and each will receive an artist fee, publicity, technical support and documentation (video and photos). Participating choreographers are:




Lindsay Renea Benton is a dancer, choreographer and educator from Youngstown, Ohio. She earned her BFA in dance at Howard University and upon graduating performed as a principal dancer with Garth Fagan Dance Company. Benton has dedicated much of her career to giving back to her hometown through the Lindsay Renea Dance Theatre. She earned her M.F.A. in choreography at Jacksonville University and is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Alabama State University.

L. Graciella Maiolatesi is a dance M.F.A. student at Temple University. She received her B.A. in dance and black studies from Denison University. Much of her work uses movement and narrative to create dialogue on issues of race, gender and sexuality. Maiolatesi believes that dance has the power to promote change as long as we are brave enough to tell our stories.


Marceia L. Scruggs is a mover and creator highly driven by her research in women’s/gender studies. As an artist and movement researcher, she values writing, performance and storytelling from her Black Womxn's lens. She is a company member of Red Clay Dance Company and Ground Rhythm Dance Project. Her mentors include, but are not limited to, dance makers such as Kevin Iega Jeff, Gary Abbott, Darrell Jones and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. 

Jasmin Williams is a multilingual native Chicagoan who has trained, worked and lived in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and throughout Western Europe. She has attended Dance Theater of Harlem and Dance Italia and performed Memoria with the renowned Alvin Ailey Company. Williams is a dancer for Winifred Haun and Dancers and rehearsal director/dance collaborator for Motion Pictures Dance Project. She is presenting her first evening-length work as a part of Links Halls' 40th season. All of her work aims to encourage true vulnerability and interdependence, which promote unity within diversity and respect in all communities.

  
Brittany Chanel Winters is a
Chicago-based dance artist.
Her hopes are to always be
in spaces that foster and
value growth,
authenticity, cultural
exploration, compassion and
journeying. And when she
can't find those spaces, she
wishes to create and share
them.
Festival activities 
include evening 
performances Friday and 
Saturday, March 15 and 16. 
There is a post-show 
discussion on Friday and a 
pre-show talk and a post-
show reception on 
Saturday. A free community 
dance class led by one 
of the festival 
choreographers takes place 
Thursday, March 14, 
followed by a learning 
circle session in 
partnership with High 
Concept Labs.

10th anniversary season
RCDC’s season continues 
with the world premiere of 
Sanders-Ward’s Art of 
Resilience 2.0, a co-
presentation with the 
DuSable Museum of African 
American History, May 16–
18, 2019 at the DuSable 
Museum of African 
American History’s 
 Roundhouse, 740 E. 56th 
Place. RCDC’s Paint the 
Town Red, a post-show 
fundraiser, takes place 
May 18 on the 
Roundhouse’s outdoor 
patio. Concluding the 
season is RCDC’s “Dance4
Peace Youth Concert & 
Community Hug Awards” 
June 1 at 5 p.m. at Benito 
Juarez Community 
Academy, 1450 W. Cermak 
Rd.
 
La Femme Dance Festival 
performances take place 
Friday and Saturday, 
March 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. 
at the Green Line 
Performing Arts Center, 
329 E. Garfield Blvd., 
Chicago.
Admission is a suggested 
donation of $10, available 
beginning February 1 at 
A free master class and 
learning circle take place 
Thursday, March 14 at 6 
p.m. at High Concept Labs, 
2233 S. Throop St., 
Chicago.
Registration opens February 

For more information about
RCDC and the 10th
anniversary season, visit
redclaydance.com.

Top to bottom:
RCDC dancer Ysaye McKeever
by Raymond Jerome
Photography.
Lindsay Renea Benton by
Shoccara Marcus.
L. Graciella Maiolatesi by
Rohan Unvala.
Marceia Scruggs by Tori Rice
OR William Frederking???
Jasmin Williams by Ron Himes.
Brittany Chanel Winters
courtesy of Brittany Chanel
Winters.

Marlon Daniel Conducts Ensemble du Monde in Saint-Georges Preview Jan. 31, 6:30 PM


Musicians from the
Festival International de Musique SAINT-Georges

Celebrating the Life of Joseph BOLOGNE
Chevalier de SAINT-GEORGES

in the year of the 220th Anniversary 
of the composer's death

US preview concert for the 2019 Festival International de Musique SAINT-GEORGES in Guadeloupe French Caribbean - March 16-23

Ensemble du Monde
Marlon DANIEL, Artistic and Music Director
Leila BREDENT, Soprano
Josh HENDERSON, Violin
with special guest Chapman ROBERTS, Narrator

Thursday, January 31, 2019 @ 6:30 PM
Admission Free 
SCHOMBURG CENTER FOR RESEARCH IN BLACK CULTURE
New York Public Library
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037

Monday, January 21, 2019

NOBLE Joins the Nation in Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



[Alexandria, VA] In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) encourages all Americans to honor his legacy by standing up against racism, injustice, and inequality. We must strive to advance Dr. King's agenda across the country to ensure equity in the administration of justice for everyone regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability.

NOBLE encourages its many members and constituents to participate in the national day of service as a tribute to the memory of Dr. King who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause for civil rights and human rights.

"Our organization shares in Dr. King's quest for justice in the face of adversity," said Vera Bumpers, NOBLE National President. "One of my favorite quotes by Dr. King says, 'a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' These words ring true for the men and women in the law enforcement community who work tirelessly every day to ensure that justice is not only for a few, but afforded to all. We thank Dr. King for the sacrifices he made to bring hope and change to America. We must all do our part to fulfill his dream by unifying and building roads of opportunity for all people."
  

John Malveaux: Jan. 20 concert in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Trinity Baptist LA



Betty J. Ford

Caprice Gregsby Smith, Charles L Peters 
and Annette Mosley Gibson

Children's Choir - Watts Learning Center

Joyce Norfleet, Dr. Dawn Norfleet
and Michael Norfleet

Hansonia Caldwell and 
Carolyn Kimble-Singleton

John Malveaux of 
writes:


Sunday, January 20, 2019 Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and Delta Sigma Sorority, Inc presented 34th commemorative concert in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr at Trinity Baptist Church, Los Angeles. See two page program. Pic 3 Pianist, composer Betty J. Ford, pic 4 special recognition to Charles L Peters from Caprice Gregsby Smith and Annette Mosley Gibson, pic 5 Watts Learning Center Charter Elementary and Middle School Choirs, pic 6 soloist Joyce Norfleet with daughter Dr Dawn Norfleet and son Michael Norfleet and pic 7 Carolyn Kimble-Singleton & Hansonia Caldwell giving closing remarks to spirited program.

AaronAsk: Weekly mentoring for a creative life: Principled?


Aaron P. Dworkin writes:

Greetings and welcome to this week's episode of AaronAsk, your weekly mentoring session to live a fulfilling creative life!  This week's episode is titled, Principled?  Enjoy, we wish you a creative day and see you for next week's session!

Comment by email:
Thanks for sharing Bill... hope you are well! Aaron [Aaron P. Dworkin]

NPR.org: Revisiting The Pioneering Composer Florence Price

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)
Naxos 8.559827 (2019)


Tom Huizenga

January 21, 2019

In 1933, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave the world premiere of Symphony No. 1 by a then little-known composer named Florence Price. The performance marked the first time a major orchestra played music by an African-American woman.

Price's First Symphony, along with her Fourth, has just been released on an album featuring the Fort Smith Symphony, conducted by John Jeter.

Fans of Price, especially in the African-American community, may argue that her music has never really been forgotten. But some of it has been lost. Not long ago, a couple bought a fixer-upper, south of Chicago, and discovered nearly 30 boxes of manuscripts and papers. Among the discoveries in what turned out to be Price's abandoned summer home was her Fourth Symphony, composed in 1945. This world-premiere recording is another new piece of the puzzle to understanding the life and music of Price, and a particular time in America's cultural history.


Price was born in 1887 in Little Rock, Ark. Her mother gave her music lessons since none of the leading white teachers in town would take her. In 1904, Price enrolled at the New England Conservatory in Boston, one of the few music schools to accept black students at the time. After earning two diplomas, she returned to Little Rock, where she taught, got married, and began raising a family. But racial tensions were on the rise, and a downtown public lynching in 1927 triggered a move to Chicago.

There, Price blossomed as a composer. Her First Symphony won a composing prize, which caught the attention of conductor Frederick Stock, who led the premiere of the piece with his Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The music is a blend of two traditions — African-American and European. The opening movement is reminiscent of Dvorak's "New World" Symphony, with its portentous sweep and lyrical melodies.

Price might be searching for her own voice in her First Symphony, but she adds distinctive touches. Cathedral chimes glisten in the serene slow movement, where a brass choir converses with delicate winds. In the third movement, African drums accompany a syncopated "Juba Dance," a folk tradition that originated in Angola and moved, with slaves, to American plantations.

Price and her music were well received in Chicago. The great contralto Marian Anderson closed her legendary 1939 Lincoln Memorial concert with a piece arranged by Price. Still, she scraped to make ends meet, writing pop tunes and accompanying silent films. In 1943, she sent a letter to Serge Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, acknowledging what she was up against. "I have two handicaps," she wrote: "I am a woman and I have some Negro blood in my veins."

But Price pushed on. Two years later, she wrote her final symphony, the newly resurrected Fourth.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

John Malveaux: LATimes.com: Resonance Records resurrects jazz history...with Eric Dolphy

RESONANCE co-president Zev Feldman with a copy of “Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet.”

John Malveaux of 
forwards this:

The Los Angeles Times




  • 20 Jan 2019
  • By Randall Roberts

  • The story of “Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet” begins in a suitcase.

    It’s 1964, and the Los Angeles born jazz multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy, then living in New York and at the peak of his alto-sax-blowing powers, is headed overseas.

    Known for his work as a bandleader and with Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Booker Little and others, Dolphy is embarking on a European tour and has entrusted his effects, including a case full of important stuff, to a friend for safekeeping. Not long after, Dolphy, a diabetic, dies suddenly during the tour in Berlin.

    After sanctioned handoffs, the suitcase lands with composer and flutist James Newton and, over a half-century later, recordings within it are loaded onto a reel-to-reel player in the Beverly Hills studios of Resonance Records.

    Variations of this story occur on a regular basis at Resonance, a West Adams-based imprint that just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Founded by jazz producer, former studio owner and philanthropist George Klabin, who was eager to invest in what he describes as “a virtual museum” to his lifelong passion, the label will release the Dolphy triple-CD set and digital download package “Musical Prophet” on Friday.

    It’s the first unreleased Dolphy recordings to arrive in decades and follows a November vinyl release put out in conjunction with Record Store Day, a marketing promotion designed to spur purchases at independent retailers. Subtitled “The Expanded New York Studio Sessions,” the collection features nearly 85 minutes of previously unreleased recordings as well as the otherwise unavailable monaural tapes of seminal Dolphy albums “Conversations” and “Iron Man.”

    Those who follow Resonance have come to expect nothing less, and 2018 was a good year for the Grammy-winning label. It issued two searing live recordings by jazzfunk guitarist Grant Green and a previously unreleased set by jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. On the contemporary front, its Klabin-produced recent studio album by jazz clarinetist Eddie Daniels is nominated for a Grammy in the Latin jazz album category.

    Since its birth as a division of Klabin’s nonprofit, the Rising Jazz Stars Foundation, Resonance has earned attention for old and new records from bassist Jaco Pastorius, trumpet-and-drum team Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, pianist Bill Evans, British jazz singer Polly Gibbons, bossa nova collaborators João Gilberto and Stan Getz and others. For the live album, “Wes Montgomery in Paris,” Resonance teamed with France’s National Audio-Visual Institute to issue an estate-sanctioned version of a crucial and oft-bootlegged Montgomery recording.

    The label’s mission is straightforward, Klabin said, and has arisen out of necessity. “There’s really no place where you can hear really great mainstream jazz of the nature we do on a consistent basis.”

    Describing his team as “curators of really great music — we choose very carefully,” Klabin stressed that in addition to searching for lost recordings, Resonance is equally devoted to finding “true virtuosos of mainstream jazz.”


    Sergio Mims: ArkTimes.com: Kristin Lewis sings Met Opera performances of Aida

    Kristin Lewis
    (Arkansas Times)

    Sergio A. Mims forwards this link:

    Arkansas Times

    Little Rock native soprano Kristin Lewis makes Met debut

    Posted By on Mon, Jan 7, 2019

    Renowned lyrico-spinto soprano Kristin Lewis, a Little Rock native who began her voice studies under the tutelage of Dr. Martha Antolik at the University of Central Arkansas, makes her debut at the Metropolitan Opera tonight. 

    Following the withdrawal of superstar soprano Sondra Radvanovsky from the Met's production of "Aida," citing personal reasons, the Met engaged Lewis, currently based in Vienna, Austria, to replace Radvanovsky for the opera's January performances. 

    Richard Thompson's Chamber Opera, The Mask in The Mirror, on Navona CD

    Richard Thompson


    Bill Doggett writes:

    The Mask in The Mirror by Richard Thompson, a lyrical new Chamber Opera is available in pre Release pre Order on Amazon.com

    Recorded by Navona Records, a division of Naxos Records, the official release date is February 8th, 2019.

    Thompson's Chamber Opera, The Mask in The Mirror  is  about the world of Paul Lawrence Dunbar, the leading African American poet at the Turn of The 20th Century and his courting of Alice Ruth Moore, an aspiring African American female author in a man's world of Literary publishing.

    The recording is a glorious accomplishment with beautiful sonic engineering.

    The role of Paul Lawrence Dunbar is beautifully sung by Cameo HumesThe role of Alice Ruth Moore is lovingly sung by Angela L. Owens.

    The Conductor is Stephen Tucker who conducts The Sanaa Opera Project.

    The Mask in The Mirror beautifully captures the world of Turn of The Century Racial Uplift, its world of Society and the challenged journey of aspiring African American talents navigating recognition in the World Of Literature only 35 years removed from The Civil War and Slavery. 

    Virginia State Alumna Dr. Nardos E. King to Lead HBCU Alumni Alliance


    Dr. Nardos E. King

    DC Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance, Inc. 

    Washington, D.C. — The Washington, D.C. Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance, Inc., has elected Virginia State University Alumna Dr. Nardos E. King as its new president. The Alumni Alliance was formed in 2012 to support the mission of HBCU’s by increasing the membership of participating alumni chapters; collaborating on philanthropic efforts; and promoting a higher awareness of HBCU opportunities among underprivileged, minority high school students. The nonprofit started out with just four charter members, and it has now grown to comprise more than 64 local alumni HBCU chapters.

    Dr. King is the Executive Principal for Fairfax County Public School’s Region 1, responsible for coaching and supervising principals of the region’s 40 schools. Prior to that, she was an Assistant Superintendent for High Schools and an Executive Director for Secondary Schools in Baltimore County Public Schools in Maryland. She graduated from Virginia State University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems. She went on to earn a master’s degree in Special Education from George Washington University in 1998; a master’s degree in Education Leadership from George Mason University in 2002; and a doctorate in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia Tech in 2016.

    After graduating from Virginia State University, the Mount Holly, New Jersey native married her husband of 30 years, Stanley A. King, a fellow Virginia State University Alum (Class of 1986) and retired Army colonel. They have two adult children: Chad L. King, a 2012 graduate of Old Dominion University and Army captain; and Tracy L. King, a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and currently a brand specialist for Nike Basketball West Coast. Both children were Division 1 athletes.

    Dr. King spends her free time volunteering in the community through the organizations she belongs to. She is a Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., initiated in the Alpha Eta Chapter at Virginia State University. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia State University Foundation, and is president of the Donna M. Saunders Foundation for Breast Cancer Support and Education, named after her college roommate who passed away in 2010 from her second diagnosis of Breast Cancer.

    She is also the President Elect of the National Alliance of Black School Educators and serves on the supervisory committee of the Apple Federal Credit Union.

    She has received numerous awards for volunteer work in the community, including a Citizen of the Year award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Lambda Gamma Gamma, Psi Alpha Alpha Chapters at their 3rd District. She received the same award from Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Alexandria Fairfax Chapter and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Theta Rho Lambda Chapter. She is also an in the Rancocas Valley Regional High School Sports Hall of Fame.

    “As a proud graduate of Virginia State University, I look forward to leading the DC Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance for the next two years,” said Dr. King. “The alliance will continue to grow to ensure our impact on the exposure, recruitment and support of the HBCUs across the country is a positive one. Working with our sponsors, we will also continue to have a great impact on our community through our signature events. We stand at 64 schools and look to increase our numbers in 2019 to have representation of all 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

    If your school is not a part of the alliance, please join us by contacting us at https://dchbcu.org/contact/

    Saturday, January 19, 2019

    MonroeCoPost.com: Penfield S.O. in William Grant Still's "Poem for Orchestra" Feb. 25

    William Grant Still (1895-1978)


    Rochester, New York

    By Messenger Post Media

    Jan. 18, 2019

    The Penfield Symphony Orchestra, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching the Rochester community for over 60 years, will present “A Sweet for the Sweet,” the third concert of its 63rd season. 

    The concert will feature Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide,” William Grant Still’s “Poem for Orchestra,” Hanson’s Symphony No. 2 in D-flat major, and Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite.” It will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the Penfield High School Auditorium, 25 High School Drive.

      
    Tickets can be purchased at penfieldsymphony.org; by phone at (585) 872-0774; at all area Wegmans; the Penfield Recreation Department, 1985 Baird Road; Canandaigua National Bank (Penfield Branch), 1816 Penfield Road; and at the door on the night of the concert. 


    Tickets cost $15 for adults and $12 for senior citizens, 60 and older For students of any age with a student ID, tickets are free. 

    Akron.com: Fundraiser planned for pianist to attend ‘dream college’

    Pictured is pianist Kofi Boakye playing the melodica.
    Photo courtesy of Shane Wynn Photography

    Akron West Side Leader

    January 17, 2019

    By Cassaundra Smith

    WEST AKRON — North Akron resident and pianist Kofi Boakye has been admitted to his dream college, and now a fundraiser has been planned Jan. 31 at The Tangier, 532 W. Market St., to help him make attending this school a reality.


    According to Boakye, he has teamed up with Pritt Entertainment Group to create “Kofi: Made in Akron,” a short documentary film that showcases his life from growing up in the inner city of Akron to being accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston. ArtsNow Executive Director Nicole Mullet and Getta Kutuchief, outreach and education coordinator for the Summit County Juvenile Court, have teamed up with Boakye to co-host a documentary premiere and fundraising event. He has set up a tax-exempt 529 educational account to help pay for tuition — half of which will be taken care of with a scholarship — as well as living expenses.

    Boakye, 19, recalls not exactly enjoying the first piano class he attended at the age of 8, a class filled with other beginners — “a bunch of 5-year-olds.” He had tried other activities, such as soccer and baseball, that just didn’t seem like a good fit. So he began taking lessons after his mom saw an ad for them, he said.

    According to Boakye, what could have ended just as quickly as it began but didn’t, thanks to his piano teacher pulling him aside, letting him know she saw something in him and offering to give him private lessons. He’s been playing the piano ever since.
    Boakye will attend Berklee in the fall and study music business and jazz. He said he found out he had been accepted into the college last March.

    “It was a feeling of excitement and huge responsibility,” he said.

    Boakye equates getting accepted to the school with a basketball player making it to the NBA or an aspiring lawyer gaining admission to Harvard University. A school like Berklee is hard to get into, he said. Attending the college will give him the opportunity to be around likeminded individuals, which he looks forward to.

    “That’s the place I’m going to be able to grow,” he said.

    According to event officials, at the age of 15, Kofi was accepted into The University of Akron (UA) School of Music’s Jazz Program, making him the youngest African-American pianist to ever be accepted into a collegiate-level jazz program at UA. In September 2016, Kofi performed at the Akron Civic Theatre, making him the first teen pianist to ever headline a show there, according to event officials.

    Boakye has also toured Germany and Prague with the Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts Show Choir. He is a graduate of Akron Early College High School, where he was valedictorian and senior class president, according to his website.

    TNTribune.com: Dr. Mildred Denby Green...Historian of Black Music in Memphis Dies

    Dr. Mildred Denby Green

    The Tennessee Tribune

    January 17, 2019

    MEMPHIS, TN — Dr. Mildred Denby Green died on January 8, 2019, she was a college professor, choir director, composer, music scholar. One of Memphis foremost historians of Black music, she taught at two of the city’s historically Black colleges for forty years. 

    The daughter of Howard C. Denby, a painting contractor, and his wife, Wanetah  Benn  Denby, she was born on August 25, 1938, in Portsmouth, Virginia, where she attended Truxton Elementary School and graduated from I. C. Norcom High School.  She attributes her interest in music to early experiences and to studies with noted musicians such as Noah F. Ryder, Undine Moore and Altona Johns.
      
    After two years at Oberlin, she transferred to Ohio State University, from which she received a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1959.  A few months after graduation, on August 15, 1959, she married Reuben Green, an ordained minister who later became a college professor, and they had two sons, Reuben II and Howard.  In 1962, she received a master’s in music education, and thirteen years later, she completed a doctorate in music education from the University of Oklahoma.


    Dr. Mildred D. Green has made significant contributions to the Memphis community through her work as a college professor and music historian.  She and her husband moved to Memphis in 1963, when they joined the faculty of Owen College, a private Baptist college, where she directed the choir and taught music appreciation and humanities.  When Owen merged with LeMoyne College in 1968 to form LeMoyne-Owen College, Dr. Green became a professor of music and director of the choir.  In addition to traditional music courses, she introduced a seminar on Black women composers and one on  Black Memphis musicians.  The seminar was based on research for her doctoral dissertation, which led to publication of a book, Black Women Composers:  A Genesis (1983), that traces the lives and works of composers Julia Perry, Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, Evelyn Pittman, and Lena McLin.  The course on Black Memphis musicians developed from a grant that she received from the United Negro College Fund to document the accomplishments of more than 300 musicians, including singer Carla Thomas, saxophonist Herman Green, classical pianist Thomas Flagg, and music educator Wendell P. Whalum.  She explains, “I teach about these musicians in class because I believe it helps students research and learn heritage.”

    Friday, January 18, 2019

    Mississippi State U. in Afro-American Symphony of William Grant Still Jan. 19, 7:30 PM

    William Grant Still (1895-1978)

    Starkville-MSU Symphony Association celebrates MLK Jr. with 'Our America' concert Jan. 19

    January 15, 2019

    The Starkville-MSU Symphony Association is presenting its "Our America" concert Saturday [Jan. 19] at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium at Mississippi State University.

    Admission is free and open to the public. The fourth installment in the Symphony’s landmark 50th season, the "Our America" program will feature a selection of new and historic works by American composers. It also will include a prelude to the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a performance of the historic "Afro-American Symphony," composed by Mississippi native William Grant Still.

    The work was the first symphony composed by an African American to be performed by a major orchestra. It was premiered in 1931 by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Born in Woodville, Still holds a historic place in American music as the first African American to conduct a major orchestra, and the first to have an opera performed by a major company.

    “We’re delighted to include this important work in the 'Our America' concert,” said Ryan Ross, Starkville-MSU Symphony concert manager. “Still’s work offers a stunning example of what’s possible when elements of African American and European Classical music traditions are combined.”

    “One of the Starkville-MSU Symphony Association’s goals is to present historically relevant works like this in the context of our own diverse community,” said Haley Montgomery, SMSA vice president. “The inclusion of this symphony is a great way for us to honor the legacy of African-American musicians and celebrate their important place in the fabric of classical music.”

    Congratulations to the inaugural cohort of Sphinx LEADers!


    Sphinx LEAD (Leaders in Excellence, Arts & Diversity) launches this month: ten outstanding leaders were selected to participate in the inaugural 2-year professional development program. These administrators, entrepreneurs, and musicians hail from 8 states and represent an exciting cross section of classical music.

    Sphinx LEAD exists to empower arts leaders of color and to evolve the landscape of administrative leadership in the country. Stanford Thompson will oversee the program as Dean, and Aaron P. Dworkin will serve as Senior Advisor. Sphinx is thrilled to collaborate with Cleveland Institute of MusicCurtis Institute, The Juilliard School, and New World Symphony to host Leadership Retreats where LEADers will learn from experts in the field and maximize valuable networking opportunities.

    A $1.5 million grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will support the launch and implementation of Sphinx LEAD. Additional support by Victoria Robey.
    LEAD launches at SphinxConnect 2019!